Carmel Amit’s movement-based Breath, Voice and Body Connection workshop is back this year at the Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts Industry Series workshops. (Photo: South Asian Arts Society)

Performing arts

Monsoon festival kicks off with comedy night in Surrey

Annual event includes four-day ‘Industry Series’ workshops in Surrey, Vancouver

The organizers of Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts are taking a “slightly different” approach this year to kick off the annual event.

This year, Monsoon Festival is starting off with a stand-up comedy night at Elements Casino Surrey (17755 60 Ave.) on Aug. 9, followed by a four day “Industry Series” workshops Aug. 10 to 13.

Festival producer Gurp Sian said the comedy night will be a “highlight event” for this year in hopes of creating a new audience.

“We’ve been pretty theatre heavy for the first three years, which we did on purpose, trying to create a space for more South Asian theatre. There isn’t a lot of South Asian theatre that gets presented regularly, so we made a very conscious decision to focus on theater,” said Sian, adding that the comedy night will be a “slightly different” approach.

The reason for the comedy night, Sian said, is a couple years back the festival hosted a sketch comedy show.

“It was a huge success, very well received and it was this shot of energy… That sketch comedy show was kind of an in for people to come to the theatre and just come to this space and take part in something,” he said. “Comedy is just one of those things, those genres, where it’s very accessible… Almost anyone can enjoy a good night of comedy. Whereas if you have a very serious subject matter for a play, it might not be for everybody.”

Sian said the comedy night is “kind of breaking away from the mold” of traditional comedy shows. He said there won’t be a headlining comedian, but everyone will be on an “equal playing field, equal platform.”

The comedy night will include Rae Lynn Carson, Ash Dhawan, Rajneesh Dhawan, Al Hassam, Devon Kandola, Leena Manro, and it feature Kalyn Miles as the MC.

After the show, there will be a dance party featuring High Voltage Roadshow’s DJ Beatdrop. There will also be a cash bar and dinner menu available.

The show begins at 9:30 p.m., with doors opening at 8:30 p.m. It is a 19-plus event. Workshops are limited to 20 participants, unless otherwise stated.

Tickets for the evening are $20 (plus surcharges) in advance or $30 at the door. A reserved table with seven seats is $120 (plus surcharges), and in advance only.

Back again this year is the Industry Series workshops Aug. 10 to 13 in Surrey and Vancouver. The workshops are free “community-based initiatives,” according to Monsoon Festival’s website.

The Industry Series includes a reading of “Kaur” by Agam Darshi, and six workshops, such as Breath, Voice and Body Connection with Carmel Amit in Vancouver; Finding Your Core Essence (female acting workshop) with Agam Darshi in Vancouver; Digital Marketing with Amneet Athwal in Surrey; Strong Scenes, Stronger Characters (writing workshop) with Paneet Singh in Surrey; Comedy Class with Leena Manro in Vancouver; and Art and Anxiety: Mindfulness and your Artistic Practice with Gavan Cheema in Vancouver.

The Digital Marketing workshop with Amneet Athwal will be at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey campus in the Fir Building in room 1364 on Aug. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Strong Scenes, Stronger Characters workshop with Paneet Singh will also be at KPU’s Surrey campus in the Fir Building in room 1364 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 12.

To register for any of the workshops, visit moonsoonartsfest.ca/industry-series.

Sian said Amit’s movement-based workshop has been a highlight in recent years, adding that it can be “somewhat intense” as it’s a five-hour day. The session focuses on breath, voice and body connection.

“It takes you out of your comfort zone,” Sian said.

Monsoon Festival, which is organized by the South Asian Arts Society, is now in its fourth year. It celebrates local performing arts, artists and the “wealth of knowledge they have to offer individuals and our community at large.”

The inaugural festival in 2016 was organized to echo similar events in India, where festivals celebrate the arrival of the wet-and-windy season with dance, music, theatre, film and other performing arts.

READ ALSO: ‘Malavika’ love story dances to Surrey as part of second Monsoon fest, July 18, 2017

READ ALSO: Monsoon washes onto the stage, August 2016

READ ALSO: ‘Fish Eyes Trilogy’ in Surrey looks at colliding cultures, in two parts, Aug. 7, 2018

– With file from Tom Zillich

Just Posted

UPDATE: Surrey getting a new hospital, in Cloverdale

Premier John Horgan said the ‘brand new hospital’ will be built near Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Police say they’ve identified suspects in Bradley Kline homicide in Surrey

Kline, 26, was found dead at 7055 144A St. on Dec. 7, 2018

Star time for Surrey actor in ‘Snow White’ panto play

Royal Canadian Theatre Company presents a twist on Disney script at Surrey Arts Centre this month

15-year-old charged following threat to South Surrey high school

Police announce pair of teens arrested for Nov. 14 incident at Elgin Park Secondary

Cardiac-event survivors stage hospital protest in White Rock

Optional maintenance exercise program to continue ‘indefinitely’ despite confusion– FHA

Seven arrested in 20-man fight between rival gangs in Vancouver

Seven men were arrested but have since been released with no charges filed

SkyTrain strike averted after ‘eleventh-hour deal’ reached

CUPE 7000 says ‘marathon bargaining session’ led to tentative agreement with BC Rapid Transit

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

Hope’s illicit drug death rate rivals Vancouver

Small Fraser Valley district listed among top five per capita in B.C.

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Most Read